Sunday, October 21, 2012

For Sale, One Democracy, Slightly Used of Late

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)  

You only have a realistic hope of ending poverty if you can somehow curb the destruction and waste and the devastation of war. - The late Sen. George McGovern (1922-2012)

As is often the case in the Protean, Broomhilda landscape of politics, ironic timing follows much of what transpires. The death of Senator George McGovern, the Democratic nominee for President in 1972, neatly dovetails into the revelation partly broken by Brad Friedman that Tagg Romney and company, through Bain Capital, has bought voting machines in at least five, perhaps six states, starting with the swing state of Ohio.

Attorney General Eric Holder has called for an investigation into this latest bid on the American electoral process that opened up with the Citizen's United decision. Yet, considering the Obama Justice Department's laughable record of investigations it's launched only to drop like radioactive dog turds, this doesn't give the liberal heart much hope. Plus, one can already hear Karl Rove's fax machine creaking and grinding like a $20 hooker on rent day fanning out talking points to the right wing press such as, "Comrade Obama is engaging in partisan politics," and "Comrade Obama is persecuting poor Tagg Romney and the Free Market system yet again!"

And, just to play Devil's Advocate, how would it look if the President's own Attorney General called for an investigation into the oldest son of the Republican presidential nominee essentially buying up thousands of voting machines in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Colorado and, according to David Pakman, also the president's home state of Hawaii?

The real issue, obviously, wouldn't be in partisan politics on the part of the president, who can hardly order his Attorney General and Justice Department to look into this amazingly brazen attempt to buy Romney into the Oval Office but in the incestuous relationship between a major presidential candidate, his family, his "former" company and the very electoral process in the last two weeks of the election.

Here are the abstracts, according to those who'd originally broken this story. Let's start with election watchdog Brad Friedman:
Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.
It gets even better (or worse, depending on your political stripe). Apparently, this sleazy move also includes one of Mitt's brothers and even Queen Ann Romney. From Truthout:
Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.
In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall's election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who "owns" the White House."
So if you're wondering why Rove, the Romneys and other assorted right wing nut cases seem oleaginously optimistic regarding Willard's chances of sliding into the Oval Office, there's your starting point.

I Love (Kevin) Bacon!

On the face of it, it seems absurd that a businessman savvy enough to take center stage in an $8.5 billion Ponzi scheme without even being investigated let alone charged let alone jailed for his involvement wouldn't be stupid enough to buy infamously unreliable voting machines in the final weeks of his father's run for the presidency. But, obviously, that was the point all along.

So how can this possibly be legal? Well, there's what I call the Kevin Bacon factor. Insert enough degrees of separation between the perp and the people actually carrying out the fraud and that provides coddled, well-connected, lawyered-up right wing operatives like Tagg Romney with enough plausible deniability of any subversive and illegal motive. And this "strategic investment" is enough to dizzy all but the hardiest souls with its labyrinth of corporate entities in the financial and business sectors. So far, we've heard the names Hart Intercivic, Bain Capital, H.I.G. Capital and Solamere. As sums it up (emphasis theirs),
Both The Nation and New York Times confirm the connection between the Romney family, Solamere and the Bain Capital investment in the voting machine company, Hart Intercivic, whose board of directors serve H.I.G. Capital.
"Mitt Romney, his wife Ann Romney, and their son Tagg Romney are also invested in H.I.G. Capital, as is Mitt's brother G. Scott Romney.

The investment comes in part through the privately held family equity firm called Solamere, which bears the name of the posh Utah ski community where the Romney family retreats to slide down the slopes." Truthout added.

There are also political connections between Solamere and the Romneys. "Matt Blunt, the former Missouri governor who backed Mr. Romney in 2008, is a senior adviser to Solamere, as is Mitt Romney’s brother, Scott, a lawyer," according to the New York Times.
Willingly ascribing all these connections and collusions between right wing operatives and corporations that include Romney's own Bain Capital to sheer coincidence ought to come with a mandatory revocation of your membership card to the intellectually dominant life form on earth. Whether or not this is being orchestrated from behind the scenes by Karl Rove or any one person, this largely unreported scandal is merely of a piece that threatens to bring back the tainted elections of 2000 and 2004, which also devolved on Ohio thanks largely to a conflict of interest in the form of the Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, also serving as George W. Bush's campaign co-chair.

We can plainly see a massive, nationwide concerted effort to steal votes from the president in a multitude of ways. Tagg Romney and family buying up dysfunctional, easily-hacked voting machines in five, perhaps six states. At least 25 racist and restrictive Voter ID laws being enacted in 19 states. SAC and the electoral fraud scandal in Florida, which led to the "firing" of SAC's Nathan Sproul, another infamous right wing operative tied to yet unprosecuted over electoral fraud. An operative in Virginia, one hired by Sproul, who was recently arrested for throwing in a Dumpster Democratic registration forms. Purge lists ordered by Florida Governor Rick Scott targeting minorities. Republican operatives training challengers to intimidate minority voters and to spread disinformation. The list stretches longer than the rap sheet that most Republicans ought to have on public record.

Considering tomorrow's third and final presidential debate will be exclusively about foreign policy, don't look for the President or the moderator to mention this slimy gambit on the part of the Romneys to buy or steal this election. Yet, with the exception of the New York Times, not one major news source has been linked to in this article because they're simply not touching it. The supine MSM, true to form, is avoiding this and busying themselves with busy work like pedestrians avoiding the aftermath of a mob hit.

The crowning irony in all this is that a couple of years ago, President Obama could've scuttled his own re-election chances by signing on to the right wing hysteria over "voter fraud" and James O'Keefe's heavily-edited, misleading video that got ACORN and its GOTV efforts defunded by Congress.

And that brings us back to George McGovern, an honorable, decent and honest man who seriously underestimated the power of the stupidity of people in large numbers and the Southern Strategy. McGovern sincerely wanted to end a war in Vietnam from which Mitt Romney furiously avoided involvement while lobbying for it. McGovern's tragically misguided faith in the American public's common sense is eerily reminiscent of that of our African American President, who seems to think he'll handily win in 16 days because everyone who wants to vote for him will simply be allowed to with no obstacles, blithely ignorant of the Republican Party's thus far successful attempts to buy, steal, cheat, intimidate and otherwise do everything in their considerable power to not so much install Mitt Romney but merely to unseat him.


At October 21, 2012 at 6:31 PM, Blogger Jill said...

In 2000 Al Gore missed the chance to recount the entire state of Florida. In 2004, John Kerry didn't even wait till all the votes were counted in Ohio, choosing instead to take his $14 million in leftover campaign money and go home. Not one Democrat has mentioned this atrocity -- and I don't expect anyone will. And when we wake up the day after Election Day and Romney/Ryan have been "elected", they still won't say a word. And neither will anyone else, because hey, it's football season!

The republic collapsed on December 12, 2000. This will be just the final nail in the coffin.


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